Top 9 Convenience Food Products

And Recipes to Use Them

You can rely on these excellent food products to make delicious meals fast. Keep several in your pantry, fridge, and freezer along with the recipes below and you'll never again be forced to go to a drive-through restaurant for dinner! Most of these recipes add just a few common ingredients for delicious meals. And remember, when you're making these recipes, you can substitute just about any of your favorite meats, vegetables, cheeses, and herbs for the ones called for in the recipe.

  • 01 of 08

    Rotisserie Chicken

    Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad
    Linda Larsen

    I love rotisserie chicken. It's not much more expensive than buying a whole chicken and cooking it yourself. And the texture and flavor are absolutely perfect. Make sure you bring it home from the supermarket immediately. I like to take the meat off when it's still warm because it's easier to work with.

  • 02 of 08

    Prepared Pesto

    Preserving jar of wild garlic pesto on napkin and grey wooden table, view from above
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Pesto is one of my absolute all-time favorite convenience foods. Which you know if you're a regular reader of this site! It's creamy, flavorful, good for you, and so delicious. It's perfect simply tossed with hot pasta, used as a sandwich spread or ingredient in salads, and makes a fabulous casserole. Use in:

  • 03 of 08

    Pasta Sauce

    Classic homemade tomato sauce in the pan on a wooden chopping board on brown background, top view. Pasta, pizza tomato sauce. Vegetarian food
    OksanaKiian / Getty Images

    Jarred pasta sauce, both white and red, is a fabulous convenience food. You can find it in umpteen flavors, including mushroom, onion and garlic, and even four cheese. I always have several jars of different types of pasta sauce in my pantry. It makes an instant dinner with some pasta, and adds a slow-cooked flavor to any quick dish. Use in:

  • 04 of 08

    Frozen Fully Cooked Meatballs

    Crockpot Swedish Meatballs

    The Spruce

    This is probably my favorite convenience product. These little meatballs are tender and flavorful, and you don't have to worry about food safety, since they are already fully cooked. Use them in:

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Frozen Pastas

    Tortellini pasta salad

    jenifoto / Getty Images

    I always make sure I have several of these frozen pasta products on hand. They cook in minutes, can be mixed with pasta sauce and baked without boiling, and are wonderful in pasta salads. Use these pastas in:

  • 06 of 08

    Frozen Puff Pastry

    Puff pastry hearts

     

    Marc O. Finley / Getty Images

    Sure, you can make puff pastry from scratch - and I have. That's why I love Pepperidge Farm products. Their puff pastry is reliably good, so easy to use, and makes wonderful recipes. Use it in:

    • Chicken and Bacon in Puff Pastry
    • Cranberry Turkey Puff Pastry Bites
    • Puff Pastry Hearts
    • Seafood in Patty Shells
    • Minute Apple Tart
    • Puff Pastry Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Napoleon Sandwiches
  • 07 of 08

    Bagged Salads

    Wrap Sandwich
    schafar / Getty Images

    Did you know that bagged prepared salads are the second largest selling item in grocery stores? Bottled water is the only more popular product. I love this convenient food for side salads in minutes; try different varieties with various types of salad dressings. Use it in:

  • 08 of 08

    Canned Black Beans

    Chili with Grated Cheese and Scallions
    1MoreCreative / Getty Images

    Beans are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They're full of soluble fiber, which helps reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. These little beans have a fabulous texture and mild nutty flavor. Add them to just about any soup for more texture and nutrition. Stir them into salads and always use them in chili. Rinse the beans before you use them to reduce sodium content. Use in: